I talk a lot about writing trends and would like to go into something that has been going on for a while now…
There has been a push in more recent media circles to make fantasy and fiction more like reality…
We’ve all seen this in some way, shape, or form. Be it people who let movies raise their children crying about Disney princesses and the whole ‘Love at first sight’ mentality, to all kinds of different elements being added into fantasy universes that are inappropriate, to say the least.
Fantasy isn’t constrained by real work physics, it’s not confined to our narrow view of reality, and it never should be. Is ‘Love At First Sight’ realistic? No. Does it happen sometimes? Eh… maybe? I’ve never seen it… but whatever. It’s a story trope. It’s something writers do, mostly in movie mediums, when they are constrained by a time limit and need to get the point across about their characters.
But Jim, it’s painting an unrealistic view of love and relationships for our children!
Of course it is… THATS WHY ITS CALLED FANTASY!!! It’s an unrealistic universe… or are you going to tell me that griffons, elves, dragons, dwarves, and goblins actually exist?
(Because I’d be very appreciative if you did!)
Look, its supposed to be harmless fun that was never meant to be taken seriously and can easily be put into context.
But I don’t want my kids to…
That’s YOUR problem, not mine, not anyone who writes stories or creates movies. If you aren’t adult enough to be able to parent your child and put stories like these into context for them, I’d say that you’ve got far bigger problems than a perceived movie narrative. I’m sorry to be harsh, but I have kids too and good parenting is always the best defense against any perceived notion of narrative.
I mean, which is a more appropriate, proportionate response?
1. Sitting down and explaining the reality of the stories they see and read to their children.
2. Writing angry letters to Disney, practically ordering them to change their ways to fit in with your mouth-breathing ideologies?
Well… it seems that most people chose option 2. How do I know? Let’s take a look at Disney’s highest grossing film in a long time… a film that I have grown to despise, because of it’s over-exposure, it’s predictable story, and… of all things… its egregious departure from the original story!
(Sorry, I’m a huge fan of Hans Christian Anderson’s work… to the point that I own a few 1st ediitons of his work)
Wow… Disney’s highest grossing film? YOU HATE IT!?
Yes. Go read The Snow Queen… and then watch ‘Let it Go’ 50 times in a row and you’ll understand why.
No, all kidding aside. When I took my son to see it, 10 minutes into the film when they were talking about true love thawing a frozen heart, I shook my head and thought to myself ‘Please tell me they’re not going to do a fake out, make it look like true love will save the day with via prince, only to suddenly reveal that it’s true love between the sisters…’
Yup… Disney decided to turn the movie into social commentary against their own movie tropes. While some considered this to be clever, I found it shallow and predictable…
Well maybe that’s just you!
Probably, given how popular this movie is. Maybe I can spot these things more easily because of my love for fantasy and the fact that I’m a writer myself… maybe, but then I’d invite everyone to rewatch the movie from an analytical standpoint. Watch and see if you can find the same problem I did.
This is the problem I have with this. The movie, based off of one of HCA’s best books, was ruined because Disney was focused on social commentary and trying to appease the crowd of people (mostly feminists dealing with the princess stereotype, and absentee parents) whining that fantasy is unrealistic!
The ironic part of this whole thing is that if they compare the book to the movie, most feminists would STILL say that the movie falls horribly short of their agenda, because in the book, a girl saves a boy, not a girl saves a girl… So why even bother?
But you know what? I’m going off on a bit of a tangeant.
So what brought all this on, all of a sudden? Well let’s go back a year or two. My wife and I loved a show known as How I Met Your Mother…
We watched season after season Ted be a doofus, Lilly be deplorable, Barney be a whoremonger, Marshall be a goon, and Robin be a maniac. It was a fun ride… too bad it was ruined at the end of the series with a finale that completely destroyed several seasons of character build up, and crashed and burned multiple plot threads that we had been waiting to see unfold.
The series creators’ justification for this? Sigh… it was more realistic…
Per Craig Thomas on twitter:
… Craig… here’s the problem… This show is NOT realistic. If it were:
Ted would have been living on the streets or back with his parents for the seasons that he was unemployed because, I’m sorry, no unemployment check is going to cover an apartment in NEW YORK CITY!!
Not to mention that he’d most likely be in jail for any number of indescretions he’d comitted during the show’s run.
Marshall would likely have not lived to adulthood given his family dynamic and the way he was with his brothers.
Lilly would either not have married Marshall or she’d be royally hated by his family… and most likely had other problems stemming from the way she treated people when she was younger.
Robin, at the least, would have been behind bars for assault and then deported.
Barney… would currently be a science experiment at some lab trying to find a cure for sexually transmitted diseases.
Yet somehow these characters are people who have quite a few friends, and have a pretty good life… if that’s not fantasy, then I don’t know what is. So then you’re going to take that show out of context, take the extremely unrealistic life events and lifestyles, and try to put them into a real-world context because… that’s how life works? Do you not see the problem here?
Writers, why do we feel the need to do this? If we’re writing an urban fantasy based around real life places or events, where the narrative has all along been about living by real world rules, then I can understand pushing the real-world context, but in almost any other fiction-fantasy world, this doesn’t make sense.
Because it paints an unrealistic view of the life that can be harmful.
How? Why do you think people like fantasy and fiction? Why do they continue to pick up books and watch movies based around things that aren’t real? Because they get enough of that real world every day of their lives. Fantasy gives them a chance to get away to another place, it’s something that they enjoy.
Do you really think that people need that dose of reality? Seriously? What’s the harm in letting people enjoy their works without a sudden slap in the face to needlessly remind them of the blantantly obvious fact that what they’re reading ISN’T REAL!??
Okay… you know what… the sheer lunacy of this is driving me nuts. I’m going to go get a drink, everyone… just enjoy the Nostalgia Critic’s rendition of Let It Go…
Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.
I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.
Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:
Catch you on the flip side!